What does it take for communities to heal from violence and mistrust? It’s a pressing question, especially given recent events in cities like Dallas and Baton Rouge. In an interview with a reporter from the online magazine, LifeZette, Jessica Klein, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at Adelphi University and author of author of The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools (NYU Press, 2013), addressed the need to create a “culture of caring” in schools and communities.
“Since the 1980s, social isolation has tripled and depression and anxiety have multiplied 10 times,” Dr. Klein told LifeZette. “Depression and anxiety affect youth at much younger ages and empathy has plummeted. My work aims to help young people move away from the destructive, often hurtful competition for popularity, and instead develop relationships that are caring and trusting.”
Dr. Klein founded Creating Compassionate Communities at Adelphi in 2015 in collaboration with Adelphi’s Center for Health innovation (CHI). Through the program, which is part of CHI’s Graduating a Healthy High School Class of 2035 initiative, Dr. Klein works with educators, social workers, criminal justice professionals, local businesses, nurses and others interested in building strong social bonds by increasing capacity for empathy in the community.